The Chesterfield Kings
|The Chesterfield Kings|
|Origin||Rochester, New York, USA|
|Labels||Sundazed, Mirror, Wicked Cool|
|Past members||Orest Guran
The Chesterfield Kings were a rock band from Rochester, New York, who began as a retro-1960s garage band, and who have heavily mined 1960s music, including some borrowing from the 1960s recordings of The Rolling Stones. Core members are former Distorted Level singer, underground music journalist and avid record collector Greg Prevost, and Andy Babiuk (16 years old at the time of the band's founding); others have come and gone. The band, named after a defunct brand of unfiltered cigarette, was instrumental in sparking the 1980s garage band revival that launched such groups as the Unclaimed, Marshmallow Overcoat, The Fuzztones, The Malarians, Mystic Eyes, The Cynics, The Optic Nerve, the Secret Service, and the Stomachmouths.
The early Kings were a late-1970s recreation of a mid-1960s garage band sound. Their self-released first single (Living Eye Records, LSD-1) was a cover of The Brogues' 1965 "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" b/w The Heard's 1967 "Exit 9". In a deliberate effort to create their own rare garage-band collectible singles, only 500 copies were pressed.
Their first broader public exposure came when a track on Greg Shaw's 1981 Bomp! Records compilation Battle of the Garage netted them a series of dates at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City. They continued with this 1960s garage sound through the mid-1980s, releasing two albums—Here are the Chesterfield Kings (1982) was entirely covers, and Stop! (1985) introduced their first originals—then turned to a harder-edged rock sound for Don't Open Till Doomsday (1987), which Piero Scaruffi describes as "uninspired and confused", and Berlin Wall of Sound (1989), featuring the blues guitar work of new band member Paul Rocco, followed by an acoustic blues record Drunk On Muddy Water (1990).
Their Let's Go Get Stoned (1994) is a mix of slightly post-Aftermath Stones covers and worthy originals in the Stones' style. Surfin' Rampage (1997) showed that they were fully capable of pop harmonies; Where the Action Is (1999) was a return to garage band roots, a mix of covers and 1960s-styled originals.
The Mindbending Sounds of the Chesterfield Kings (2003) pays tribute to the more baroque side of the 1960s underground, evoking at times the sound of the Electric Prunes ("Transparent Life", "Disconnection"), and featuring appearances by Jorma Kaukonen on two tracks.
The Kings' full-length feature film Where is the Chesterfield King? (2000) is described on their web site as "A comedy/drama in the vein of The Bowery Boys, Batman, The Monkees Show, A Hard Day's Night, Hawaiian Eye, and The Munsters, with a little Three Stooges slapstick to boot…"
In 2004, Babiuk published Beatles Gear, a book which details exactly which guitars, drums, amplifiers and keyboards The Beatles used throughout their career.
- Greg Prevost (lead vocals, multi-instrumentalist 1979–current)
- Andy Babiuk (bass, multi-instrumentalist 1979–current)
- Orest Guran (organ, guitar, 1979–1986)
- Richard Cona (lead guitar 1979–c.1987)
- Doug Meech (drummer 1979–c.1988) (Deceased)
- Walt O'Brien (guitar, organ, 1986–1987)
- Paul Rocco (guitar 1990-1995) (Deceased)
- Brett Reynolds (drums 1990-1993)
- Kris Hadlock (drums 1994-1996)
- Jeff Okolowicz (guitar 1995-1999, 2009-current)
- Ted Okolowicz (guitar 1995-1999)
- Paul Morabito (guitar 1999–current)
- Mike Boise (drums, percussion 1996–current)
- (1982) Here are the Chesterfield Kings (Mirror Records MR-9, 14-song LP)
- (1985) Stop! (Mirror Records MR-10, 12-song LP; also remastered 14-song LP and cassette MR-10R)
- (1987) Don't Open Till Doomsday (Mirror Records MR-12, 14-song LP featuring Dee Dee Ramone, 15-song cassette)
- (1989) Berlin Wall of Sound (Mirror Records MR-15, 15-song CD/cassette, 14-song LP)
- (1990) Drunk On Muddy Water (Mirror Records MCD-16, 13-song limited edition CD)
- (1994) Let's Go Get Stoned (Mirror Records MR-19; several sources inaccurately give the title as Let's Get Stoned; 14-song LP, CD, and cassette).
- (1997) Surfin' Rampage (Mirror Records M-23, 32-song double LP and CD)
- (1999) Where the Action Is (Sundazed LSD 13, 17-song CD)
- (2003) The Mindbending Sounds of… (Living Eye / Sundazed, 2003; 14-song CD, 12 song LP - Wicked Cool Records, 2006; 14-song CD)
- (2007) Psychedelic Sunrise (12-song CD, 12-song LP - Wicked Cool Records, 2008)
- "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" b/w "Exit 9" (1979, Living Eye Records, LSD-1; limited edition 500 copies)
- "You Can't Catch Me" b/w "I Won't Be There" (1981, Living Eye Records, LSD-2; limited edition 50 copies)
- "Hey Little Bird" b/w "I Can Only Give You Everything" (1982, Living Eye Records, LSD-3)
- "I'm Going Home" b/w "A Dark Corner" (1982, Mirror Records)
- "She Told Me Lies" b/w "I've Got a Way With Girls" (1984, Mirror Records)
- "Baby Doll" b/w "I Cannot Find Her (acoustic version)" (1987, Mirror Records)
- "Next One In Line" b/w "Talk Talk" and "You Drive Me Nervous" (1991, Mirror Records, MIR45-4, 7-inch EP)
- "Hey Joe" b/w "Roadrunner" (as "The Paisley Zipper Band", 1994, Get Hip Recordings, GH-144)
- "Misty Lane" b/w "Little Girl" (1997, Misty Lane records, Italian fanzine release)
- "Wrong From Right" b/w "So What" (1998, Living Eye Records, LSD-5)
- "Run Rudolph Run" (1998, Living Eye Records, LSD-FC98, fan club Christmas single)
- "Help You Ann" b/w Lyres "She Told Me Lies" (1999, Living Eye Records, LSD-6; a split single, with each band covering a song originally by the other)
- "She Pays The Rent" b/w Lyres "She Told Me Lies" (2000, Feathered Apple Records, FA-1300; a split single, with each band covering a song originally by the other)
- "Where Do We Go From Here" b/w "Louie Go Home" (1999, Living Eye / Sundazed Records S-146; vocals by Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders)
- "Yes I Understand" b/w "Sometime At Night" (2001, Sundazed Records; vocals by Sal Valentino of The Beau Brummels) 
- Johnny Thunders and the Chesterfield Kings
- Kingsize Rock 'n' Roll
- Long Ago, Far Away (Paisley Zipper Band)
Notes and references
- Chris Morris, "Bayside's Exec Shift; Kings Get Stoned", Billboard, April 23, 1994, p. 73.
- Piero Scaruffi Chesterfield Kings, accessed 14 January 2006
- The Brogues original "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" can be found on Nuggets; some information about The Heard can be found at The Heard Story, accessed 14 January 2006
- The Chesterfield Kings: History[dead link]
- Greg Prevost, Chesterfield Kings' official site, accessed 5 December 2006
- Andy Babiuk, Chesterfield Kings' official site, accessed 5 December 2006
- Blair Buscareno, The Chesterfield Kings, Teen Scene #59, 1999.
- De Blase, Frank (2009-03-24). "OBIT: Paulie Rocco". Rochester City Newspaper. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- According to videocrypt.com, in the band at the time of the film Where Is The Chesterfield King? (this site says released 2001, IMDB says 2000).
- Paul Morabito, Chesterfield Kings' official site, accessed 5 December 2006
- Mike Boise, Chesterfield Kings' official site, accessed 5 December 2006
- Official discography: Rarities[dead link]
- Official discography: singles for entire list, except as noted, accessed 14 January 2005.